Coming off a loss in his final bout of 2019, bantamweight Journey Newson was looking to rebound in his first fight of 2020 when he faced Domingo Pilarte at UFC 247 on Feb. 8.
Just under 40 seconds into his bout with Pilarte, Newson was able to land an overhand right on his opponent, ending the fight and picking up his first UFC win in the process.
“We got the job done,” Newson told MMAWeekly.com. “It was a lot quicker than we thought it’d be. We all thought we were going to finish that fight, but we didn’t know how quick it was going to be.
“It does take one or two punches to get me going in a fight – it doesn’t mean I’m a slow starter – it usually just takes me one or two, not the whole round to get warmed up in a fight. That (early kick by Pilarte) sure kind of leveled me, but I’m glad I have a strong jaw and I can take these hits, and I’m glad we got that finish.”
While the fight didn’t last long, Newson has both good and bad takeaways from the fight and knows where he has to focus his efforts on in the gym as a result of it.
“We’re obviously happy with the win and outcome, but I block kicks all the time and my hand wasn’t there,” said Newson. “I get it, (Pilarte’s) lanky, he’s six feet tall, his leg reach was quite a bit, and he’s southpaw, so I didn’t know it was going to throw me off so bad that I was going to take that hit, but the outcome is still unreal and I’m happy for it.
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“I’m still bringing it all together. I knew I had power in my hands. We knew that right hand was going to land. My coach and I did that 1,000 times the four days we were there, from Tuesday to Saturday we were throwing that right. We knew it was going to land, we just didn’t know it was going to land so quick.”
While he’s not sure exactly what step is next, Newson is open to whatever opportunity the UFC sends his way as he moves forward in 2020.
“I wait for them,” said Newson. “I wait for my manager to hit me up. This is the fight game. I won’t ask for any names. I don’t think I’m at that level yet to start calling out names. I’m definitely way more respectful than to call somebody out, but when they give me a name, I’m all for it.”